- Remembering Iñigo: Glimpses of the Life of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. The 'Memoriale' of Luis Gonçalves da Câmara
There were no portraits of Ignatius of Loyola painted during the lifetime of the founder of the Society of Jesus. Whereas an image of Ignatius was left to be painted after his death, the saint's own writings provide an image which, perhaps, excels beyond what could be accomplished by brush and canvass. By his own hand or under the direction of a secretary, over 6,000 letters, the Spiritual Exercises, the Formula of the Institute, and the Constitutions, a few brief commentaries [End Page 362] on giving the Exercises, and a dictated version of his life commonly referred to as the Autobiography provide a substantial insight into Ignatius' mind and times. Another document, known as the Memoriale by Louis Gonçalves de Câmara, provides additional details of the saint and founder.
Da Câmara had entered the Society of Jesus in 1545 and from his first days of novitiate desired to know and observe Ignatius, the man he felt was both founder and model for the Society of Jesus. The opportunity to fulfill these desires occurred when Da Câmara was made director of the physical necessities of the community, the minister, a job which put him in close contact with Ignatius. For a period of seven months in 1555 Da Câmara took daily notes of the actions of Ignatius and reactions to various events. The collection of memories has no organizational focus other than what Da Câmara chose to include and thus what is recorded describes a range of behaviors and attitudes not seen in the saint's own writings. These descriptions sketch a more human Ignatius, a man given to a full range of virtues and temperaments. These descriptions, first published in 1904, afford historians a more precise look at this man and his times.
The translators and editors deserve praise for a well laid-out translation which include all the n ecessary apparatus to make this sixteenth-century text accessible to the modern reader. Scholars of early modern religious history would be remiss not to find a place for this book on their shelves.